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Canada's beleaguered foreign aid minister quits

  • Canada's International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 20, 2012. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

OTTAWA: Canada's minister in charge of doling out foreign humanitarian aid, whose false testimony in a funding matter last year earned her an official rebuke, said Tuesday she is leaving politics.

Bev Oda, said in a statement that she handed in her resignation to Prime Minister Stephen Harper two weeks ago.

It will be effective July 31 ahead of a possible cabinet shuffle, bringing to an end an eight-year political career that included overseeing a radical change in how and to whom Canada gives Can$5 billion in foreign aid annually.

In a statement, Harper praised Oda for promoting "accountability and effectiveness for Canada's aid programs," and for leading Canada's response to humanitarian tragedies in Haiti, Pakistan and the Horn of Africa.

But critics over the years have assailed the 67-year-old for her lavish spending, including $16 for orange juice at a London five-star hotel which she had moved to because she didn't care for her original five-star accommodation.

Oda was also derided for telling MPs she did not know who had altered a document that cut funding to a foreign aid group, before later saying she ordered it to be changed.

In 2010, the international cooperation minister found herself at odds with her G8 counterparts over Canada's refusal to fund abortions abroad as part of a health package for poorer nations.

 
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